The India Honourable Minister of State for External Affairs, His Excellency, Mr MJ Akbar has said freedom in its true meaning is not given but taken. The diplomat cum author stressed that when freedom is consolidated, it should be rightly defined according to the yearnings among the people of the nations involved.
This was revealed in a lecture delivered by the Honorable Minister during a one day seminar with the theme: Geo-Strategic Relations between India and Nigeria with Defence Cooperation as a Key Pillar. The event which took place at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC) was well attended by senior officers of the Armed Forces, the Police and other security agencies.
The envoy described freedom according to prosperity it brings. He said that, social freedom and economic freedom are keys to other freedoms like freedom of electricity, water and other amenities that are basic and fundamental needs of the citizenry. He added that NARC should continue to serve as a think- tank on issues that will shape and define its strategic relations with other stakeholders.
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Mr Akbar described India as a peaceful nation. He postulated that, India as a nation did not define defence to mean offence to her neighbours or, her Armed Forces to seek for territorial extension but to make peace as a focus area in her dealings with other nations. He said the duty of security forces is to remember the past, protect the present so that they can project into the future.
He reiterated the need to understand the nature of the conflict we are facing today because in spite of religious differences, it is interesting to note that all the nations of the world focus on economic growth and prosperity of the people as priority goals. The envoy berated those nations that put blanket on this truth as those fighting wars by other means. He called for support in the fight against global terrorism and commended efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces in pushing Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) to a tiny corner in the North East. He congratulated Nigeria and India for fostering bilateral relations that have lasted for six decades.
In his welcome remarks, the Director General (DG), NARC, Maj Gen JGS Hamakim said that the seminar could not have come at a better time than this. He added that the seminar was mooted when the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency Mr BN Reddy and his entourage paid courtesy visit to the Centre last month.
He explained that NARC as a young institution was conceived by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen TY Buratai and was established on 20th November, 2015 to serve as a Think-Tank to proffer solutions to Defence and security issues in Nigeria.
High point of the event was the Investiture of NARC Fellowship on the India Honourable Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr MJ Akbar and the presentation of souvenirs to other diplomats in his entourage. The seminar ended on a high note.